This weekend Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona will be hosting the pacific coast regional SBL conference.  The SBL portion of the program begins on Sunday, March 14th and there will be two papers presented on Paul.   Both papers will be presented at 2:15 in the New Testament Epistles and Apocalypse section.  The first will be presented by me, Kevin Scull, and is titled Paul’s Use of Self-Representation in Galatians.  This will be the first of at least three conferences this year (perhaps 4 if my paper is accepted at the national SBL conference) in which I present papers examining Paul’s use of self presentation.  The second paper will be presented by Kenneth Waters and is titled,  Politics and Polemic: Hidden Strategy in Paul’s Rhetoric of Empire (Romans 13:1-7).  I am certainly interested in hearing Waters take on this important passage.  So if you are in the Tempe area this weekend come listen to the excellent papers at WECSOR and be sure to introduce yourself.


I realize everyone already posted about this months ago, but I’ve decided to post my tentative SBL schedule.  This year I’ve made a promise to myself to not make the same mistake I make every year.  Normally I am torn between attending a session with many big name scholars discussing a new influential work and a session of unknown scholars presenting papers that look “interesting.”  The interesting papers are usually not so interesting and Brandon Wason normally boasts of the greatness of the section I skipped.  I still rue my decision to skip a great section for a paper in which a “scholar” was supposedly challenging Paul’s authorship of Galatians only to find out that it was a bait and switch.  Instead the “scholar” was proposing that Ephesians was written by Paul.  I have vowed things will be different this year!  I will examine each day in a separate post.  So starting at the end here’s where you may be able to find me this year at SBL.

Tuesday 11-24

9-11:30  SBL Corpus Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti Section

Hans Dieter Betz’s Commentary on Galatians, Thirty Years

The scholars amassed for the section are a who’s who of Pauline scholars including: Udo Schnelle, Helmust Koester, Richard Longenecker, Margaret Mitchell, and Hans Dieter Betz.  I am actually staying until Tuesday for the first time just to attend this section.

I will also try to attend Pat McCullough’s paper, The AGents of Jesus Meet “All the Nations”: Adapting Jesus’ Cultic Reform for the Eschaton.

Also, Nijay Gupta’s paper A methodological Reconsideration of Paul’s Use of Scripture in Philippans looks excellent.

My current plan is to attend the Betz section, request a copy of Nijay’s paper, and tell my friend Pat his paper was great. 


Galatians: Annotated Ranking of Academic Commentaries

The lack of high quality Galatians commentaries is quite surprising.  While there are many useful commentaries from the 1990’s, Galatians lacks a definitive, recent (up to date bibliography), commentary.  Additionally, many entries from the top tier series such as NIGTC (1982), Hermenia (1979), and ICC (1920!) are in need of an update.  However, the entries from Longenecker, Martyn, Betz, Dunn, and Witherington are all worth consulting.

Martyn_Galatians1. J. Louis Martyn, Anchor Bible, 1997, 614.

2. Hans Dieter Betz, Hermenia, 1979, 352.

Betz’s commentary is a groundbreaking work.  Betz was the first to assemble a commentary with a focus on rhetorical criticism.  In the 30 years that have passed since its introduction many have questioned Betz’s conclusion that Paul’s letter is an example of apologetic rhetoric.  However, even if one does not agree with Betz’s overall conclusion, his commentary still provides endless useful information concerning Paul’s use of rhetoric and Greco-Roman parallels.

galatians3. Richard Longenecker, WBC, 1990, 323.

4. Ben Witherington, 1998, 477.

5. James D. G. Dunn, Black’s, 1993, 359.